Working at Home Productively
To make sure that you achieve maximum efficiency and meet your productivity goals, set yourself up for success. Take note of the following considerations:
1. Stay organized. – Whether you work space is a separate room or a corner of the family room, make sure to organize your space so that you can find all the paperwork you need in the middle of a phone discussion. If you Skype or send any type of video message with clients or with your corporate office, your office environment should look professional at all times.
2. Establish boundaries. – Advise family and friends of your official work hours where you may not be disturbed or distracted unless there was a dire emergency. Find a way to limit distractions from pets, children and other noises.
3. Maintain a structured schedule. – It is tempting to do as you please when you want to, but as an insurance agent, you have to be responsive to clients’ needs. Make yourself available for clients during normal business hours.
Establishing a Work Schedule
Clients are more concerned that they can reach you during standard work hours rather than where you are during those hours. In most cases, they may never be aware of your actual location. It is really up to you to make them aware of your office hours because you will need to block off time for paperwork, research and consulting with your peers or corporate experts.
6 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Prepare for work as if you are going to an office. Do the usual morning routine, including eating breakfast and getting dressed. Once again, the latter is important if you expect any video conferences or Skype interaction with clients or with anyone. You should dress professionally all the time.
7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
This is your work prep time. Review your daily schedule for urgent matters that should be addressed first. Line up the files that you will need as you make phone calls to clients, vendors and other business contacts. Check your email and triage your messages. If you use any other social media to promote your business as an insurance agent, check those also, and review the content for any feedback, sales tips or useful suggestions from your followers. This is also a good time to browse the news for any developments relevant to your business or topics that you can use as icebreakers when talking to other people.
9 a.m to 11 a.m.
Mid-morning is always a good time to make those phone calls. Most people would have settled into their daily routine, and they are likely to be at their desks or sitting down for coffee after the morning rush of getting the family off to school or work. Make sure to return calls from the previous day even if it is just to acknowledge that you got the call. Clients like to feel that their insurance agent is on the ball even if they don’t get an actual answer to their query.
Consider this your client meeting hours. If you have to leave your home office for face-to-face meetings, scheduling the meetings at mid-day means that you avoid the morning traffic and the afternoon rush. It’s the perfect opportunity to take a potential client for coffee or lunch. If you have no reason to schedule a working lunch with anybody, use these hours to relax and catch up with your paperwork, including mailing out your marketing materials and other official business documents. Don’t forget your own lunch!
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Business clients may be difficult to reach until after 2 p.m. due to the lunch break. However, studies have shown that people are more open to suggestions right after a pleasant meal, so this may be a good time to make those prospecting calls for preneed or final expense plans. Return any phone or email messages that may have come in that morning. Update your list of clients.
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Use this time for making more phone calls to clients and prospects. Alternatively, you can also allocate this time for research or proposal preparation as this is a good time to consult with peers or mentors for any questions you may have regarding preneed, final expense insurance lines, or fresh sales tips. Prepare any weekly or monthly reports, and take the outgoing mail to the post office. Schedule video conferences at this hour because people tend to keep discussions short as they look forward to the end of the day.
A structured schedule ensures that you stay focused, set priorities and work efficiently for optimum results. This is especially important for insurance agents who perform a wide variety of tasks with very little assistance from anyone.